Thor's Cave

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Thor's Cave
Thyrsis's Cavern [1]
Thor's cave.jpg
Thor's Cave from the Manifold Way
Location Manifold Valley, Staffordshire
Length150 feet (46 m) [1]
Elevation870 feet (265 m) [1]
DifficultyGrade I [note 1] [1]
View from inside Thor's Cave Thors cave, view from inside.jpg
View from inside Thor's Cave

Thor's Cave (also known as Thor's House Cavern and Thyrsis's Cave) is a natural cavern located at SK09865496 in the Manifold Valley of the White Peak in Staffordshire, England. It is classified as a karst cave. Located in a steep limestone crag, the cave entrance, a symmetrical arch 7.5 metres wide and 10 metres high, is prominently visible from the valley bottom, around 80 metres (260 feet) below. Reached by an easy stepped path from the Manifold Way, the cave is a popular tourist spot, with views over the Manifold Valley. The second entrance is known as the "West Window", below which is a second cave, Thor's Fissure Cavern. [1]


Thor's Cave was served by a railway station on the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway from 1904 to 1934; the disused line now forms the Manifold Way.


The origin of the name is uncertain, possibly from the word "tor". Links with the Norse god Thor and the Germanic paganism of the early Anglo-Saxons in general have been suggested, but evidence is lacking. Other hypotheses have included lost ancient dialectal terms, and obscure English saints.

Human habitation

Excavations in 1864–65 and 1927–35 found human and animal remains, stone tools, pottery, amber beads, and bronze items within Thor's Cave and the adjacent Thor's Fissure Cavern. The caves are estimated to have contained the burial sites of at least seven people. [2] The finds suggest the cavern was occupied from the end of the Palaeolithic period, with more intensive use during the Iron Age and Roman periods.

Rock climbing

Thor's Cave has been used by rock climbers since explorations in the early 1950s by Joe Brown and others. Eleven limestone routes are listed by the BMC, ranging in grade from Very Severe to E7, and several more have been added since the publication of the BMC's rock climbing guidebook; a few routes are bolted sport climbing routes, such as Thormen's Moth 8a  (5.13b) by Andy Pollitt in 1988. [3]

Media use

The cave was used to represent the entrance to the Dark Wizard's lair in the 1980 film Hawk the Slayer , directed by Terry Marcel,[ citation needed ] and was a location in The Lair of the White Worm (1988), directed by Ken Russell and starring Hugh Grant. [4]

It was used in the filming of The Verve's 1993 video for their single "Blue",[ citation needed ] and is also pictured on the front cover of the band's first album, A Storm in Heaven . [5] The cave also acts as the backdrop for Winterfylleth's band photo for their 2020 album The Reckoning Dawn.[ citation needed ]

See also


  1. Grade I: Easy caves. No pitches or other difficulties.

Related Research Articles

Rock climbing is a popular activity in the Peak District; particularly on edges such as Stanage or Froggatt. Generally the climbing style is free climbing and the rock is either gritstone or limestone. Climbing has been practised in the Peak District since the late 19th century; James W. Puttrell is generally credited with starting the sport. The first climbing guidebook to the area was Some Gritstone Climbs, by John Laycock, published in 1913. There are over 10,000 routes in the Peak District. One of the most famous Peak District climbers, and a pioneer of many new routes, is Ron Fawcett. The climb known as "Master's Edge", on Millstone Edge, near Hathersage, is a testament to his skill and strength. The climb is graded E7 6c and rises 19m up the near vertical edge.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">White Peak</span>

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The Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway (L&MVLR) was a narrow gauge railway in Staffordshire, England that operated between 1904 and 1934. The line mainly carried milk from dairies in the region, acting as a feeder to the 4 ft 8+12 instandard gauge system. It also provided passenger services to the small villages and beauty spots along its route. The line was built to a 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge and to the light rail standards provided by the Light Railways Act 1896 to reduce construction costs.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beeston Tor</span> Limestone cliff in Staffordshire

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Waterhouses, Staffordshire</span> Human settlement in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ecton, Staffordshire</span> Human settlement in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manifold Way</span> Bridlepath in the English Peak District

The Manifold Way is a footpath and cycle way in Staffordshire, England. Some 8 miles (13 km) in length, it runs from Hulme End (53.1307°N 1.8480°W) in the north to Waterhouses (53.0480°N 1.8654°W) in the south, mostly through the Manifold Valley and the valley of its only tributary, the River Hamps, following the route of the former Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway, a 2 ft 6 in gauge line which closed in 1934 after a short life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grindon, Staffordshire</span> Human settlement in England

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Cave Dale is a dry limestone valley in the Derbyshire Peak District, England. It is located at grid reference SK149824. The northern end of the dale starts at the village of Castleton where the valley sides are almost perpendicular and over 50 metres (160 ft) in height. The dale rises gently after leaving Castleton for approximately 200 metres (220 yd) before becoming steeper culminating in a fine viewpoint down the dale taking in Peveril Castle with Lose Hill behind. After the viewpoint the dale swings west and levels out with gentle gradients, becoming just a shallow depression as it peters out onto the open pastureland between Castleton and Chapel-en-le-Frith.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Odin Mine</span> Disused lead mine in Derbyshire, England

Odin Mine is a disused lead mine in the Peak District National Park, situated at grid reference SK133835. It lies on a site of 25 hectares near the village of Castleton, England. It is the oldest documented mine in Derbyshire and is thought to be one of the oldest lead mines in England. The mine is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has biological and geological significance within the Castleton Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Sparrowlee was the name of a railway station on the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway, a 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge line which ran for 8 miles between Hulme End and Waterhouses, in Staffordshire, and was initially operated by the North Staffordshire Railway before being taken over by the LMS.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wetton, Staffordshire</span> Human settlement in England

Wetton is a village in the Peak District National Park, North Staffordshire, at the top of the east side of the Manifold Valley. The population recorded in the 2001 Census was 157. At the time of the 2011 Census the population was recorded under Ilam. This article describes the location, some of the main features of the village, and a number of places of historical or general interest in or near the village. These include Long Low, Wetton, a prehistoric burial site unique to England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Middleton Dale</span> Valley in the Derbyshire Peak District

Middleton Dale is a steep-sided, carboniferous limestone valley in the Derbyshire Peak District of England. The village of Stoney Middleton lies at the eastern foot of the dale and the village of Eyam lies about 600 metres (660 yd) to the north, through the side valley of Eyam Dale. The dale is cut into the surrounding gritstone uplands of Middleton Moor and Eyam Moor. Dale Brook stream runs down the dale into Stoke Brook and on into the River Derwent 1.5 kilometres (1 mi) beyond Stoney Middleton. The Delf is a secluded, wooded side gorge with a stream between Eyam and Middleton Dale. Opposite The Delf, water gushes from Hawkenedge Well and flows into Dale Brook.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derbyshire Dome</span> Geological formation of the Derbyshire Peak District

The Derbyshire Dome is a geological formation across mid-Derbyshire in England.

Redhurst Crossing railway station was a minor station on the Leek and Manifold Light Railway, located between Wetton Mill railway station, Staffordshire and Thor's Cave railway station. Not much is documented about the halt, and the line which ran through it is now the Manifold Way.

Thor's Cave railway station was a station on the Leek and Manifold Light Railway. Serving the landmark Thor's Cave in Grindon and Wetton. The station site is now part of the Manifold Way.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beeston Tor railway station</span> Disused railway station in Beeston Tor, Staffordshire

Beeston Tor railway station was a minor station which served the Beeston Tor in Grindon, Staffordshire. The site is now part of the Manifold Way.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Barker, Iain; Beck, John S. (2010). Caves of the Peak District (7th ed.). Derbyshire Caving Association. ISBN   978-0-9563473-2-9.
  2. Chamberlain, Andrew T.; Williams, Jim P. (June 2001). A Gazetteer of English Caves, Fissures, and Rock Shelters Containing Human Remains. Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2016.{{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  3. Browell, M. (1987). Peak Limestone – South. British Mountaineering Council. ISBN   0-903908-26-3.
  4. "Where was 'The Lair of the White Worm' filmed?". British Film Locations. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  5. "The Shining Path". Select. March 1998. p. 77. Retrieved 28 October 2021.

53°05′30″N1°51′15″W / 53.09176°N 1.85422°W / 53.09176; -1.85422